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Klafter and Gordon on Climate Change Solutions in the Electronics Supply Chain

By by Pamela J. Gordon, TFI CEO

Oct 05, 2015

This week Flex VP Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility Bruce Klafter and I co-presented on EBN’s webinar “Climate Change Mitigation: How the Electronics Supply Chain Can Do So — Profitably.” When viewing it, you’ll find encouragement in our messages and recommendations about the electronics industry’s ability to take immediate and business-sound action to slow Climate Change.

Bruce introduced the webinar by naming the two largest opportunities that tech companies and their supply chains have for reducing Climate Change: (1) Running energy-efficient operations using renewable energy, and (2) Putting products into the marketplace that enable others to conserve energy and lead energy-efficient lifestyles.

Bruce’s Recommendations to the Industry

– By working with utilities to green the energy supply, you can still run operations with 100% renewable energy — even if your facility’s roofs and parking lots are not large enough to hold enough solar collectors to power the whole site.

– Benchmark efficiency practices with other companies that have long-running, excellent sustainability programs (e.g., Johnson & Johnson).

– Pledge to go 100% renewable in your energy supplies, leveraging the World Resources Institute’s Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles and Renewable Energy 100 — to which 9 more leading companies pledged last week.

– Even if your company does not have sufficient cash and the ability to enter into long-term contracts for your own large renewable energy projects, look for the increasing number of options to procure affordable portions of renewable energy projects.

– Encourage your company’s hundreds (or as in Flex’s case, thousands) of suppliers to join you in taking the above steps.

My Points and Recommendations

– I presented 10 Climate Reality Project slides (I was trained in the spring as a Climate Reality Leader) — recapping the dozens more Climate Change facts and solutions from the August 26th EBN webinar on Climate Change.

– Then I presented 3 (of many) ways to reduce the electronics supply chain’s contributions to Climate Change and reduce costs while doing so: (1) Embed Design for Environment (DfE) in all products from the concept stage, (2) Switch to 100% renewable energy and save money, and (3) Prioritize proximity to customers when designing supply-chain and manufacturing activities.

– Following the cost-savings strategies, I introduced 3 (again, of many) ways the electronics supply chain can profitably mitigate Climate Change and increase revenues in the process: (1) Win more business by meeting customers’ increasing sustainability demands (checklist provided), (2) Strive to be among the leading suppliers for clean-tech (with examples), and (3) Generate new revenues through Retained Ownership (introducing this concept).

Bruce and I responded to audience questions about where electronics supply-chain companies can best start mitigating Climate Change.

In my experience, it’s vital to gain the commitment of top executives (especially the CEO) of pursuing sustainability goals that are measurably sound for the environment and good for the company’s profitability, market share, and brand.

Bruce introduced the effective strategy of forming a multifunctional team to identify projects and manage them. I underscored this approach, and added ways to engage all employees in profitable sustainability.

In the last minute of the webinar, Bruce advised the audience not to get discouraged when taking these steps to mitigate Climate Change. Achieve some easy wins first, then tackle the more elusive ones.

Your Successes to Date

Achieving cost reductions through reducing your company’s own contributions to Climate Change and designing products that reduce potentially millions of customers’ contributions to Climate Change is the new way of doing business — forever.

What successes have you had to date, relative to your company’s operations and/or products?

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